Olympic chiefs have slammed Ukraine’s threat to boycott Paris 2024 over the inclusion of Russian athletes
The International Olympic Committee announced last week that they were developing a pathway for Russians and Belarusians to compete as neutrals at next summer’s Games despite the war in Ukraine.
That sparked a major backlash from Ukrainian leaders including president Volodymyr Zelensky and sports minister Vadim Guttsait.
Guttsait said the country could boycott Paris if the IOC pressed ahead with their plans.
Latvia, which borders Russia, also said this week they could join Ukraine in boycotting the Olympics.
But in a lengthy question-and-answer document published on Thursday, the IOC hit back and said: ‘It is extremely regretful to escalate this discussion with a threat of a boycott at this premature stage.
‘Threatening a boycott of the Olympic Games, which the NOC of Ukraine is currently considering, goes against the fundamentals of the Olympic movement and the principles it stands for.
‘A boycott is a violation of the Olympic charter, which obliges all NOCs to ‘participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes’.
‘As history has shown, previous boycotts did not achieve their political ends and served only to punish the athletes of the boycotting NOCs.’
Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhaylo Podolyak, last week described the IOC as a ‘promoter of war, murder and destruction’.
The IOC responded: ‘The IOC rejects in the strongest possible terms defamatory statements of this kind made by some Ukrainian officials. They are totally unacceptable and cannot serve as a basis for any constructive discussion.’